He is Risen! A bold statement made regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ that was echoed by more than 500 witnesses according to I Corinthians 15:6. Jewish law required 2 or 3 witnesses to give matching testimony to establish the facts in a case. At Jesus’ trial the prosecutor had to resort to twisting Jesus own statements in order to gain a conviction since the witnesses could not agree.
So what would it be like to have 500 people agree? People from all walks of life, different social casts, men, women, free, slave all saying the same thing? While some like the disciples could be said to have a vested interest, in a group this large that certainly wasn’t the case for everyone. The modern equivalent would be like 500 people agreeing on a particular UFO sighting. The evidence is hard to ignore, even in the absence of physical proof.
Sitting where you’re at you know better than most the importance of witness testimony. First hand accounts are accepted while secondhand accounts are treated as hearsay and inadmissible in court. Truth is sometimes hard to hear but can’t be denied in the face of overwhelming evidence.
So why don’t people believe you when you share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Based on the above discussion I think several reasons are obvious. First, after 2000 years we are not even secondhand witnesses, countless generations of believers have passed on their testimony. Many skeptics are quick to discount what you say because they think it is just a fairy tale that has been somehow changed in the retelling so that the factual persons involved couldn’t possibly be responsible for such miraculous occurrences. Like the factual St. Nicholas being morphed into Santa Claus.
Secondly is the content of our testimony. Do we agree with one another? Our greatest testimony is the way we live our lives before men. How often are Christians called hypocrites because our words and actions don’t align with each other, let alone others who call themselves Christians, and even less with the Scriptures?
To be taken seriously let alone believed, we as Christ followers coming from different denominations, walks of life, men, women, free or prisoner must be united. Not just speaking the same words of Scripture, but with our own firsthand account of what Jesus Christ has done for us as our Lord and Savior.
Jesus explained this in the simplest way possible in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” You are in the darkest place imaginable, so turn on your light so that not only you can see but those around you can see where they’re going.
The ancient church had a call and response that is still used at Easter and I will close with it: He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your Brother in Christ.